Other Pages of Interest

Thursday, March 31, 2011

And The Kicker Is...

After reading my Third Quadrant blog post, my mom reminded me of a very interesting point.

Not only did I buy one never ending project.


To work on in my free time...
See you never Peter Pan. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Third Quadrant

Have you ever misjudged a project so completely that it is laughable that you ever thought you would finish? 

I have.  And right now I am in the Third Quadrant of that project.

The most complicated cross-stitch of all time
Actually, I have a history of underestimating the amount of effort associated with a project.  Like when I decided to organize my parent's photographs into albums for their 30th wedding anniversary; a project that I assumed would take a long weekend to accomplish.  Two months later I had finally waded out from underneath the sea of pictures in our living room.  Then there was the time I chose to make all of our wedding programs.  They turned out great, but only after a few tantrums (by yours truly), nearly throwing our printer out the window and a few nights of me, Jon and both of my parents tying tiny blue bows on the top of each program.  Luckily, Jon stopped my little project binge before I tried to make my own place card holders out of wine corks for all of the guests at our reception - a project that I realize now would have sent me over the edge. 

I have yet to learn the art of project time estimation.  Then came the cross-stitch.

I purchased the pattern back in October with the perfect plan.  Begin work in October, complete one "quadrant" per month of actual cross-stitching, spend one month on the detail stitching and the french knots and have a few weeks left for framing so that my beautiful finished product could be proudly displayed on our nursery wall when we brought Gretchen home from the hospital.

Let's take a closer look.  Notice the unholy number of colors; the browns, the grays, don't even get me started on the purples.  Each color has at least three intensities, examples: very light gray green, light gray green & gray green; all distinctly different. 

Update:  It's been six months since I started and I'm just beginning the Third Quadrant.  That's right.  I'm not even HALFWAY done. 

New timeline:  Finish the Disney princess cross-stitch before our daughter is old enough to decide that Disney princesses are for babies.  Plan B:  Have another daughter.  Preferably in 4-6 years, which is when I imagine this project will be complete. 

Because, let's be real, this little princess isn't exactly leaving me with loads of free time to sit around and work on my needlepoint.
One Month Old!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

40 Weeks Later

40 weeks. It seems like an eternity when the countdown begins and then you blink your eyes and the pregnancy is over. Now I can breathe without readjusting my ribcage. I can sit in one position for over 10 minutes without pain. I can tie my own shoes. Oh yeah, and we have a baby.

It's amazing what can happen in only 40 weeks. Or, in the case of our overachieving baby girl, 36 weeks 5 days.

So, to complete the album, here is one final baby belly photo - taken 6 days shy of Gretchen's due date.
Can you believe she was in there??
In honor of Gretchen completing her third week of life, we met up with our favorite triplet family, the Dooleys, in Puerto Madero.
Greg and Kristina with their adorable threesome are nothing short of local celebrities. People call to them from cafes and restaurants wanting to know about the trillizos. We added another stroller to the mix today causing even more stares from people walking by.

I can only imagine what will happen in the next 40 weeks. It's sure to be an adventure.

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Buenos Aires Baby Shower

Let's rewind to three weeks ago, before life as we know it was changed forever by our adorable daughter Gretchen, when our amazing friends down here in Buenos Aires threw a beautiful (and impeccably timed) baby shower.  Little did we know at the time that Gretchen would arrive a mere 48 hours later.

Check out the precious decorations that adorned our little princess's shower:

They even made me a double layer cake that was delicious.  I ate a significant portion (the majority) of the cake shown in the photo above.

Here are all of the lovely ladies, and a few tiny gentlemen (Max and Trey), that came and helped celebrate the pending arrival of our little baby girl.
Thank you so much to the generous hostesses and great friends for bringing a little bit of home to a place that is so very far away! 

And let's take a moment to pay homage to the most versatile dress of all time.  Bridal shower on the left, baby shower on the right, this clearance item has served me well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Buenos Aires Birth Day

As promised, I am going to weigh in on what it was like to have a baby here in Buenos Aires. Let me spoil the ending by saying that it was a very good experience. As with my Pregnancy Abroad post I have to preface everything by saying that everyone's birth is different, and I am only speaking from personal experience, not as a blanket statement about birth in Argentina.

To start with, we go through the private health care system in Buenos Aires (as opposed to the social medicine available to Argentine locals) and we have kept our US health insurance as expats. What this means for us is that we pay for all of our health care related services in full and then send the receipts in to our insurance company for reimbursement. It takes a little extra organization, but the process is pretty straightforward and we have yet to have any big issues with receiving reimbursement.

As far as the "players" involved in Gretchen's birth, my doctor, midwife, an anesthesiologist, a few nurses, a neonatologist and my husband in the room when I gave birth. I had never considered working with a midwife when I thought about my "birth plan" but my doctor routinely works with a midwife and we never really explored the option of going without. In the end, I really liked the way this tag-team approach worked, I called the midwife when my water broke and she took care of me up until it was time to push. This arrangement helps to ease the demand on a doctor in a single practice, there is no way he can be by the side of each patient during labor. Also, considering that they work together for the vast majority of the births they attend, there is no power struggle or conflict of interest between the two, they come as a team.

Aside from that, here are some highlights from my pregnancy:

  • During the 1st trimester, I saw my doctor at least once every three weeks. During the 2nd trimester, the visits reduced to once a month and in the 3rd trimester we had appointments every two weeks. At 35 weeks we saw the doctor weekly. Every appointment included a full exam, an ultrasound and a non-rushed conversation with my doctor. He outlined what was going on now, what to look for before the next appointment and answered any questions or concerns Jon or I had.
  • Over the course of my pregnancy, I had four full blood work appointments. Each of these appointments were at a location separate from my doctor's office and I needed to return to the blood lab pick up the results. For each of these appointments they did a urine workup, which involved me going to the pharmacy to purchase a sterile cup and then bringing my "sample" in with me to the appointment. (If only the taxi driver knew what was in the bag...)
  • I visited a different doctor's office for Doppler ultrasounds four different times during my pregnancy, at 12, 20, 27 and 34 weeks. At three of these ultrasounds they printed out 3D/4D photos for us to keep and at the 27 week appointment we went home with a DVD of the ultrasound.
  • Starting at 36 weeks, I began going in for weekly "Monitorio Fetal" tests (Fetal non-stress tests). This is basically an EKG for the baby. Each appointment requires a doctor's prescription and took place in a separate location from my doctor's office. (Coincidentally, I only ended up having one of these tests before I went into labor.)
  • My doctor strongly recommended that I take birth classes given by the midwife he works with. These classes were 2 hours long, once a week for nine weeks. I found them helpful in that I got to know my midwife ahead of time, she knew who I was (and my level of Spanish) and they sold some great breastfeeding clothes at the class. Other than that, the information was mostly things that I had read in books or heard from my experienced friends, I think the time may have been better spent in one or two private sessions with the midwife.
**These appointments were required by my doctor, even without any risk factors or health concerns for the baby.

The Hospital (Sanitario de la Trinidad, Cervino 4720, Palermo):
  • The hospital did not offer any public tours, however we stopped in without an appointment and were given a impromptu tour of both types of maternity rooms.
  • The maternity options were all single occupancy rooms, either a "single" room or a "suite". The suite was $300 pesos additional per night and included a couch-bed for a guest to stay the night, a mini-fridge with drinks and light snacks, wi-fi internet, a haircut and ear-piercing for the baby (if requested) and daily newspaper delivery.
  • For parents that possess an Argentine marriage license, twice a week the hospital has staff on hand that can process the paperwork for your new baby's national identity document (DNI). (For those that were married outside of Argentina, us included, you need a separate appointment at a government office. More to come on this process as we work through the red tape.)
  • Although my midwife also works as a lactation consultant, there are a team of lactation professionals on hand at the hospital that checked in with us daily. They also provide in-home services for after you are out on your own.
  • The check-in and check-out process were painfully slow. This is my only complaint about Trinidad, it was a multi-hour process from when we decided that we were ready check out to when we were actually able to leave. Thank goodness my labor wasn't very intense when we were checking in, that took a good hour as well. This could be attributed to the fact that we do not have local insurance, so the hospital had extra steps to take to make sure we could pay our bill. Either way, it was unnecessarily drawn out and a source of frustration.
The Birth
  • We corresponded with our midwife to meet at the hospital and get checked in. She arranged for our reservation at the hospital, met us there and guided us as to where to store our things, and stayed with us from the lobby to the pre-labor room to the delivery room.
  • Immediately after Gretchen was born she was put on my chest for a few minutes of bonding before anything else. Jon accompanied our baby and the neo-natologist to another room to be bathed, weighed and checked. This particular hospital does not have a nursery, so after that check we were not separated from Gretchen for the remainder of our hospital stay.
  • The delivery room had strict regulations, only one person besides the patient (in our case, my husband was the chosen one) and no cameras/pictures.
  • We stayed in the hospital for 2 nights/3 days for a natural (non-cesarean) birth. We were given the option to stay for an additional night if we wanted, but we were ready to get home.
  • The visiting hours for the maternity wing were a total of 8 hours during the day. Outside of those hours, only one person is allowed in the room. This means that if your husband/partner is with you and the baby, no one else can come in.
  • The hospital has a team of neonatologists on hand to examine your baby and monitor their health during your stay. Unless you specifically request it, your pediatrician does not come to the hospital as is customary in the US. If there is a health issue with your baby that persists after leaving the hospital, the neonatologist will contact your pediatrician and work together to transfer care. It is your responsibility to contact your pediatrician to arrange for your baby's first exam appointment or provide the neonatologist with the pediatrician's contact information, be sure to have this information with you when you check into the hospital.
That about sums it up for our birth abroad. We felt comfortable that if there had been an emergency situation, I would have been well cared for and would not hesitate to recommend having a baby in Bs.As. I am no expert, but I am happy to answer questions about my experience should anyone be interested.

And now a look at the result of our birth abroad, our little porteƱa:

Has a child ever been this precious??

    Monday, March 7, 2011

    Spoiled Girls

    Gretchen and I are enjoying the last remaining days with Daddy home. We were really lucky this year that we have additional holidays in March for Carnival so we get extra freebie days where Jon doesn't have to go to work, great timing little Gretchen!

    For the first day of Carnival, we celebrated by parading our daughter out on the town.
    Gretchen was so excited that she fell asleep instantly.
    Our little darling in her carriage
    I couldn't help but insist on taking her out of the stroller for some pictures around town.
    Happy 1 week birthday to our little girl!
    Hooray for extra days with Daddy!
    We didn't even realize how well her outfit coordinated with the pretty flowers in bloom.

    Gretchen isn't the only one that has been spoiled by Daddy in this first week as a family. I was surprised by these green lovelies when I woke up from a nap earlier this week.

    In the same week I have a beautiful baby girl, a wonderful husband home with me and some new pretties to mark the occasion. Let's see one more shot of our preciousness just to drive the point home.
    Gretchen loves Daddy, don't we all?

    Tuesday, March 1, 2011

    Welcome Gretchen Elizabeth Gill!

    We had a late February surprise this year, baby Gretchen decided to join us early! 

    Gretchen Elizabeth was born on February 28, 2011 at 2:44pm at Sanitario de la Trinidad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Que linda!  
    Baby girl with Mama, about and hour after her birth

    The swaddle blankets are worth their weight in gold!

    Check out this natural daddy!
    Everyone is healthy and happy and resting comfortably.  We should be home Wednesday or Thursday to introduce her to her new room.

    We are in inst-a-love with her and cannot wait to show her off to the world!